Camping coolers, it can be an overwhelming task to find the right one for you. Especially if you’re not sure what to look for. In this blog post, we will go over the features that are important to consider when shopping for the best cooler for you.
Cooler capacities are stated in the number of quarts or cans they can hold. Some coolers are well over 200 quarts in capacity. These huge coolers are perfect for large families or groups.
While mid-sized coolers in the 50 to 100-quart range will provide adequate space for smaller families or couples.
Small and personal-sized coolers are great for day trips, or individuals just needing to keep a few things cold. The photo below is another visual comparison of the actual size of Yeti coolers. The first image is a 20-quart cooler and the last is a 75-quart cooler.
When shopping for the best cooler, ice retention is an important factor. Ice retention refers to the number of days a cooler will keep ice before it melts. The better the ice retention, the longer it will keep your perishables fresh.
Key Features – What to Look For
- Gasket – A cooler with a rubber gasket between the lid and body of the cooler that keeps warm air out and cool air inside. Some coolers don’t have this gasket but those that do will have longer ice retention.
- Seamless Shell – Coolers with a seamless shell will perform better. There is less opportunity for warm air to make its way inside.
- Latches – Some coolers have latches to hold the lid firmly closed keeping warm air out and making your ice last longer.
- Handles – Look for sturdy handles. You’re going to need to move your cooler around and a good handle design will make all the difference.
- Warranty – Check the warranty before purchasing. Some of the better coolers actually come with a lifetime warranty. That’s rare these days.
- Rotomolded – Rotomolded refers to the process by which the cooler is made. These coolers are made with a continuous, thick wall with no imperfections to allow warm air inside. These are more expensive but they are worth it.
- Accessories – Some coolers come with accessories such as baskets to keep smaller items up and out of the ice, dividers to keep your cooler more organized, and lights for those late-night beer hunting trips. There are seat cushions and nets for the inside of the lid so you can keep things handy.
Types of Camping Coolers
There are many types of coolers on the market. You should consider what best fits your needs.
Soft Sided Coolers
Soft-sided coolers are best for shorter trips as they aren’t good with heavy loads or rough handling. They’re lightweight and easy to carry, but can’t be left out in the sun for too long because their insulation isn’t very efficient. These coolers are lightweight and often fold down to a small size, so they’re easy to transport and store. You can also keep one in your everyday vehicle for groceries.
Large Coolers With Wheels
Many larger coolers come with wheels. When you start adding food, beverages, and ice to your cooler it can get very heavy. Wheels make it easier to pull your cooler longer distances.
Chest Style Camping Coolers
These are best for large families, groups, or long trips where you need more storage space than just a soft cooler. They’re easy to load, but they can be heavy so consider that when loading up the car or truck with camping gear.
Insulated Small Coolers
These are perfect for bringing your lunch or some drinks along on a hike or when you venture out on a sightseeing trip.
Metal Camping Coolers
These will keep cold longer than a soft-sided cooler, but they’re heavier and won’t roll as the wheeled coolers do. Metal coolers have a vintage look and are popular. That silver one would look great with my Airstream!
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Electric Coolers for Camping and Travel
Electric coolers are a great choice for people who have an electric hookup available when camping or for use in a vehicle when you’re on the move. They are great in motel rooms without mini-refrigerators too.
They have many benefits that standard coolers do not, including being able to keep food cold indefinitely, or for as long as you have electricity.
The best electric cooler will be large enough to fit all your necessary items but small enough to lug around easily.
Taking Care Of Your Cooler
Camping coolers are only as good as the care they receive. The following care tips will help you maintain your cooler for years, and keep ice frozen to boot!
– Keep it clean
– Follow the care instructions provided with your cooler.
– Inspect the cooler from time to time in order to notice any problems early on.
-Always drain melted water from the cooler and dry it thoroughly before storing.
In addition to the different sizes and types of coolers available, there are so many color options available now. Whatever type of cooler fits into your lifestyle – there’s a perfect one out there waiting just for you!
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